As we all know, CM Punk has been the WWE Champion since November 20th of last year, and once again finds himself involved in a feud with John Cena. Most fans are expecting Cena to win the title sooner rather than later, but the real elephant in the room is 'The Great One' himself, The Rock.
The Rock and Cena clashed in the main event of Wrestlemania 28 after a year-long build up. While the match wasn't the greatest in terms of in-ring action, the bout had that genuine Wrestlemania feel to it, and the label of 'Once of a Lifetime' only added to the aura.
And during Raw 1000, Cena failed to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase on Punk, who himself took out The Rock when he ran in to save Cena from a Big Show. Added to this, the fact that The Rock cut a promo declaring he would get a WWE Title match at the Royal Rumble, and all three men are inextricably linked together on the Road to Wrestlemania.
First of all, let me say that the segment was totally mishandled. The Rock coming to the ring and just announcing he had a championship match was a little underwhelming, not the bombshell it was intended to be. We all knew that The Rock was gunning for the title after his promo on the post-Wrestlemania Raw, but his announcement was just flat.
Ignoring the fact that a movie star can just walk in and get a title shot (let's just say it's the rematch he never got after dropping the strap to Brock Lesnar at Summerslam 2002), the announcement felt as though it was tacked-on at the end of the promo.
Personally, I would have preferred if he had announced himself as an entrant in the Royal Rumble and won the match, saving his title shot until Wrestlemania. That way, both events would be guaranteed money-spinners and the current roster wouldn't be made to look weak by having a part-timer declare himself number one contender six months in advance.
Back to where Cena and Punk fit in.
Punk's attack on The Rock was the catalyst for his heel turn, and now it seems as though his feud with Cena will dominate WWE programming for the rest of the year. With The Rock as one half of the Rumble main event, who should his opponent be?
I fully expect Punk to drop the title to Cena in the near future. In this case, Cena would go on to face The Rock at the Rumble, and I can't see anybody but 'The Great One' leaving with the title. This scenario would ruin both the 'Once in a Lifetime' tag of the initial match, and a second consecutive loss to The Rock would damage Cena's character.
If Punk holds the title until January before dropping it to The Rock, some of the goodwill built up by what would by then be a 16-month title reign would be lost by dropping it to a part-time performer. This could also mean that Cena would need to yet again win the Rumble match to re-insert himself in the title picture.
The Rock will only be a transitional champion, as there is no way he could represent the WWE as champion for a lengthy spell with a schedule as crowded as his. So does he drop the belt at Wrestlemania?
The correct way to handle the situation while making all three guys look strong is a difficult decision.
Here's how I would handle it.
Cena defeats Punk for the title at Hell in a Cell and holds it until the Royal Rumble.
CM Punk wins the Royal Rumble and distracts Cena in his match with The Rock, costing him the title.
Cena claims he didn't lose the title cleanly and finds a way back into the title match.
The Rock v John Cena v CM Punk for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 29.
A triple threat match would bring the story full circle, while also presenting Punk as an equal to the top two guys in the company, something the WWE has been reluctant to do. The promo work has the potential to be brilliant with CM Punk as heel challenger caught between the two top faces.
The main question, however: who wins the Wrestlemania match?
Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below.